A California statewide race that offers a glimmer of hope for taking down the Democrats' one-party rule

Sensible people long have written off the state government of California as a corrupt, wasteful bastion of the far left, but for the first time in many years, there is a path toward reversing course.  A Republican candidate has a decent chance of winning the race for an obscure but vitally important office: state controller.  That office audits how state money is spent, and in one-party Corruptofornia, there is a huge amount of dirt waiting to be excavated and a public that is sick and tired of paying high taxes and getting lousy state services for its money.

If you think I am dreaming, consider that in California's primary election, Lanhee Chen won the GOP nomination for controller by finishing first in the so-called "jungle primary" (where the top two vote-getters go on to the general election, regardless of party), handily beating the Democrats' nominee, Malia Cohen.  That's right: a Republican already beat a Democrat in a statewide contest this year.  That hasn't happened in California for 16 years, since Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election as governor.

Make no mistake: Lanhee Chen is no MAGA Republican.  He served Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a senior adviser, declares himself pro-choice, and proudly states that he didn't vote for Trump and won't vote for him if he runs again.  Frankly, that's the only kind of Republican that could get elected to statewide office in California, and such is the depth of corruption and abuse that the person who could start the process of exposing and remedying the black hole of Democrat politics in the Golden State deserves my support, no matter what his thoughts on abortion, Trump, or anything else.

Chen states,

We have $300 billion a year we spend and very little accountability for any of it.

The controller's office is the office that's responsible for giving taxpayers accountability for how that money is spent. I can't think of a more important project to get the state back on track than an office that's supposed to be a watchdog for taxpayers but too often has really just been a rubber stamp.

For me, it's personal, it's about how do we keep California a place where folks want to live and have their families and create jobs? And we just don't have enough of that right now.

That's a message that resonates.  Almost unbelievably, Chen has outraised Cohen by $1.4 million and recently has been running TV ads in which he promises to get to the bottom of where our gasoline taxes are going.  Everyone who drives in California knows two things: gas taxes are ridiculously high, and the roads are ridiculously bad.

Chen's ads are also attacking Cohen's problems with paying her own taxes:

Chen's ads against Cohen are based on reporting in the Los Angeles Times in early October raising questions over a recent license suspension of Cohen's consulting business for failing to pay taxes and file required paperwork, as well as the foreclosure of her San Francisco condo more than a decade ago. 

Cohen's failure to file proper business documents doesn't end there. According to records maintained by the California secretary of state and reviewed by RealClearPolitics, another business where Cohen served as president, MobiJuice USA, was twice cited in 2020 and 2021 for failing to file its annual statements of information. 

Cohen's campaign is so lame that she is emphasizing her support for abortion as her main point.  This ignores the fact that the controller has nothing to do with abortion and that Lanhee Chen is very pro-choice.  Her previous experience was as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, currently notorious for approving a $1.7-million public toilet (a single-holer, too), and as head of the State Board of Equalization, which adjusts taxes on utilities and the like, and which gives her little to crow about.

Chen is a very smart man and was an academic star at Harvard, which he attended as an undergraduate (where his roommate was Tom Cotton), and went on to get a law degree and a Ph.D. in government, which is what Harvard calls political science.  He is now a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, where he also teaches.  Such is his appeal to establishment types in California that he has been endorsed by every major newspaper in the state, including the L.A. Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

I have little doubt that Chen's plan is to uncover horrendous stories of waste and abuse, and maybe even a few high-profile tales of corruption leading to court cases.  This could well position him to eventually run for governor, tapping into a deep vein of public anger and cynicism about the way money is wasted by the state government.

Here is Chen on Steve Hilton's Fox News show, The Next Revolution, last Sunday:

And here is a news segment on KPIX-TV, CBS in San Francisco, last week, showing the relatively friendly coverage he is getting in the mainstream media, who all know how corrupt, wasteful, and inept the state government really is.

Here is Chen's final camaign ad:

It also bears noting that California's Asian-heritage population is almost 15% and growing.  This may be a help to Chen, especially if he runs for governor in later elections.

Photo credit: Rumble video screen grab.

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